by Roy Lara
Honduras has two problems that have engaged me professionally and personally for well over thirty years: the high rate of poverty that exists in the small rural communities of the country and the continuing destruction of the environment, particularly as it has related to the country’s forests.
Previous to my involvement with my friends from Washington, I was working with the Diocese of Honduras in the undertaking of environmental work in small, poor rural communities. My commitment has, for a number of years, been to develop skills, knowledge, and awareness among community leaders in issues such as the protection of watersheds, wildlife, and ecosystems. I also have taught stewardship and the necessity of protecting the environment to students in the local schools. Part of this work was to directly involve the students in the planting of trees in endangered watersheds.
My relationship with four Washington churches started in 1987. And we started a joint relationship called the “Trinidad Conservation Project (TCP).” As a result of my relationship with TCP, I joined the staff of Sustainable Harvest International as the lead field trainer for Honduras.
I treasure my relationship with my TCP friends in Washington. They have contributed both their time and financial resources to helping six small, rural villages learn good forestry and sustainable, organic agricultural practices. Through on-site visits to the communities over these years; they have developed close, supportive relationships with a wide number of men, women, and children who often feel as if no one cares. And their time and financial resources have made a difference in increasing local vegetable production, improving family nutrition, and empowering these residents. And I also believe that the youth and adult trips have touched and changed my friends from Washington. So, it really is a companion relationship.
I am grateful for this relationship for myself and for the countless villagers who have felt its supporting presence.